Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File) AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File

During the 1965 World Series, Sandy Koufax famously refused to pitch on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

By United with Israel Staff

Sixty-seven years after Sandy Koufax joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, the former ace was immortalized with a bronze statue at Dodger Stadium alongside fellow trailblazer Jackie Robinson.

While Robinson was hailed for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, emerging as a symbol of courage not only for the Black community, but for Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds, Koufax was hailed as an icon of faith.

In 1965, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the World Series in order to observe Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. On this somber day, Jews fast, pray, and refrain from work, to rectify the mistakes they have made during the preceding year and to commit to improving their behavior and conduct in the coming year.

Koufax grabbed headlines by sitting out that game to honor his Jewish faith. He also went on to pitch three outstanding games in the Series, including a complete-game shutout in Game 5 and a three-hit shutout in Game 7.

The Dodgers went on to win the 1965 World Series, and Koufax earned a spot in the hearts and minds of American sports fans.

Koufax’s statue at Dodger stadium was unveiled last week in the Centerfield Plaza before Los Angeles played Cleveland.

“At that time sharing this space with [Jackie Robinson] would have been absolutely unimaginable. And today, it’s still one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Koufax, who is 86 years old.

“Koufax was a two-time World Series MVP with the Dodgers. The lefty won three Cy Young Awards, threw four no-hitters, and was 165-87 in a 12-year career with Brooklyn and Los Angeles,” reported the Associate Press.

“I hope a kid sees the statue and asked his mom or dad about Sandy Koufax and I hope that they tell him he was a great pitcher. But more than that he was a great man who represented the Dodgers with humility, kindness, passion and class,” said Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw at the unveiling ceremony.

“And for every rookie who sees it for the first time and asks if he was any good. I hope the veterans tell him simply that he was the best ever do it,” Kershaw added.